MovieBob's thoughts on the ME3 ending controversy

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Canadish:

Falcon123:

I wrote a couple articles on this (you can find them here: http://www.redshirtcrew.com/2012/03/why-mass-effect-3-has-changed-industry.html) but though I was initially opposed to MovieBob's tweets, and I hate siding with fans against the creator...I agree with everything he said. One of the following three things happened:

1. Bioware just forfeited their authorship to the fans to avoid controversy, thus forfeiting their claim to be artists to a large degree.

2. This was their plan all along, and they're holding their fans hostage for money with this DLC (because the game is NOT complete if the indoctrination theory is true), which sets a dangerous precedent.

3. Bioware misjudged how pissed off people would be by making them wait for the upcoming free DLC that fixes all of this.

Given I don't think Bioware is dumb enough for option 3, I think options 1 or 2 are the only real possibilities, and because Bioware is such a big part of what defines this industry, I believe the industry has been set back considerably either way, and I don't think a decade is a big leap in logic, sadly

Just tried to get to your article there, but the site doesn't seem to be working!

I think you make a interesting point there.

No matter where you stand on the issue, or however this ends:

This whole thing is going to have major negative impacts on the industry, one way or the other.

I don't know why the link isn't working. Try this: http://www.redshirtcrew.com/2012/03/why-mass-effect-3-has-changed-industry.html

If that doesn't work, http://www.redshirtcrew.com should work just fine. It's still on the main page. And I agree with you whole heartedly: Bioware is simply too big of a player in the industry to have this go on without changing the industry significantly, and either way, I don't see a happy ending here. Though the people citing the article in which a Bioware writer may have vented on how Casey Hudson hijacked the creative process explains how we got here... :/

Falcon123:
Bethesda's case is different, and they didn't change the ending due to fan complaints but because they wanted to open up DLC opportunities (far more valid, imo)

Maybe so, but then you have to discard Todd Howard's acknowledge that they made a mistake which needed to be fixed.

Does that better explain what I was trying to say? I'm aware artists need to and deserve to get paid, but Bioware's not at risk here of that, and this game was not done by commission and has already sold more than well enough. To change the ending to meet player demands now would not be to meet some commission deadline; it would be to get every cent they can from the game. That doesn't sound like art to me

So, uh... you can prostrate your art up until the break-even point and it's still art, but anything after that and it's not? I can't help but feel we're getting pretty arbitrary here.

To the point, is BioWare's only possible motivation to maximise profits? There's no room for a change simply for the sake of redressing a fanbase who feels (rightfully, imho) betrayed? You could argue that ultimately you only address customer concerns as a result of a long-term profit motive, but then again the game is only developed because paying customers exist, and the whole argument because circular.

My bigger problem goes back to the numerous quotes from Bioware that painted a very clear picture of what type of ending customers could expect from the game; a picture that was not at all lived up to. Are we really going to say that some abstract concept of the sanctity of art is a reasonable protection against the obligation for a company to deliver the product it promised to paying customers?

Funny thing, have you ever noticed that the arguments of people against the RetakeME movement fall into one of, if not all, of these categories?

1. Ad hominem attacks - some variation deriding people who complain and/or how arguing on the internet about it is silly and a waste of time (despite the fact this describes what they're doing just as well).

"Ughhh all the whining is driving me nuts! You people need to go outside and stop complaining on the internet! Don't you understand how pointless it is to complain?"

2. Straw man arguments - oversimplification or outright misrepresentation of why people want the ending changed, usually in order to facilitate the making ad hominem attacks.

"Those crybabies just want a happy ending. I know, because I've asked each and every one of them and calmly listened to exactly what they're saying."

3. Baseless slippery slope speculation - 'sky is falling' rhetoric about the damage this will cause, stated as outright fact, but lacks the tiniest shred of evidence to support it.

"This sets a dangerous precedent that will greatly damage art! Change always results in even more change that comes even more easily than the last change. Pretty soon the developers will be caving to the fans' every whim, no matter how small and insignificant their numbers are!"

The original lead-writer of the series, Drew Karpyshyn, had ALREADY left after ME2 and Movie Bob STILL ventures into the art vs product question?

That's a long passed station. There can be no artistic vision when the artist and incidently the best(or least bad) writer Bioware had, is nolonger involved.
ME3 is a commercial PRODUCT, Bob. No way around it and that's not even a bad thing in itself, because the alternative is "Art" as an excuse for bad writing.

Jabberwock xeno:
100% agree.

Just because 99% of a fanbase wants something changed doesn't mean the 99% is right.
Sometimes, the majority are wrong.

True, but that is simply not the case here. People are whining because Bioware fucked up, and Bioware is showing that they want to make something the consumers will enjoy as opposed to something they want to make. The question is: When will the line be drawn? When will developers start letting "fans" and potential consumers dictate a game, as opposed to the people who are making it take it in a direction they see fit? Sure, companies can go wrong (the ending is a perfect example), but what's going to happen when, say, a good first installment in a franchise sets itself up as an epic space opera with unconventional gameplay that manages to work, and has an unusual size, scope, and story conventions that fit it more in the opera genre than the military shooter? What is most consumers don't like that, and so, in pursuit of the bottom line, the company betrays its original vision and listens to the larger body of consumers and goes for mass-market appeal?

Oh, wait, here's an example.

DustyDrB:
I'm gonna do something crazy and say...I understand both points of view and am pretty conflicted about it myself.

Until the people that think [that people complaining about the ending are babies] address the fact that those same people say that Bioware lied to them, I'm siding with the latter.

I stopped caring about what Bob thought a loooong time ago. He's such an arrogant asshole, and I really wish they'd replace him with someone new to do movie reviews, the jack ass is way to narrow sighted to be informative.

Arina Love:
Moviebob stick to movies, you know nothing about games, mass effect franchise and what made first 2 games great.

He doesn't know much about art either since the idea that art cannot be product is pretentious wank generated in the past century or so.

The idea of artists not being told to go back and rework till the customer was happy is a new concept to me. I would have loved to have done 1 job and the customer had to put up to it. Even Leonardo had to work to the customers satisfaction. Look, I'm sorry to tell people. But mass effect is not art and never was. It was a product to be sold. That was the idea from the start was it to sell. Art is produced for its own sake, whether anyone likes it or not.

luvd1:
Look, I'm sorry to tell people. But mass effect is not art and never was. It was a product to be sold. That was the idea from the start was it to sell. Art is produced for its own sake, whether anyone likes it or not.

So something cannot be both art and a product?
Why is that, and does this rule apply to any other artwork that is sold?

Are some of the greatest works of art no longer such because they were commissioned?

For.I.Am.Mad:
A decade, guys, a DECADE!!!!

No no. Worse. It is the worst thing that have happen in video game history! Far worse then 1983 video game crash. The industry is doomed! DOOMED!The dark ages are coming.

So... much... hyperbole...

Too much...

Too... much

Why yes, I do think Bob is wrong, why'd you ask?

So apparently when I get promised vastly different endings by dozens of Bioware employees, look forward to getting vastly different endings. Don't get them, then simply ask for what I was PROMISED. That makes me a whiny little crybaby?

I knew MovieBob was pompous but now he's just being an asshole.

Maybe the reason that people are complaining about the ending is because they are taking things seriously.

Jabberwock xeno:
Just because 99% of a fanbase wants something changed doesn't mean the 99% is right. Sometimes, the majority are wrong.

Whilst your statement is correct, that popularity does not = right, it doesn't mean much more than that. It certainly doesn't mean that they are wrong, either.

Perhaps if this was art, or some kind of altruistic good being produced by Bioware, it wouldn't be such an issue. But the game is just a consumer good, financed by EA (the devil, because outlandish comments are necessary for internet posts).

This is what players are faced with after the eye-gougingly-bad ending. Yes, it's even further salt to the wounds:

image

It is entirely up to them about what they do, but it is also entirely up to the players as to whether they continue to purchase Bioware/EA products. If 99% of your customers tell you that you are making a god awful mistake, you should probably listen.

Now all Bob has to do is visit an alternate reality where people give a crap about his opinion. Also, video games aren't art. So long as they are made by people who don't care about anything but trying to squeeze as much money out of me as possible, they are not art.
Some video games may be, but nothing associated with EA is, that is for sure. Can we stop this artistic defense bullshit? It is getting really old. If I paid for artwork from someone and it wasn't what they advertised to me, I would want it changed or I would want my money back. I don't care if it is THEIR vision. It is MY money.

LOL, lost all respect for Bob's opinions. The ending is bad for reasons than "closure." Filled with plot holes, no impact based on choice, A,B,C ending which was actually just A, A (in green), A (in blue). If its art then why was it released with such a bad ending? Art is not a defense for a poorly put together product. Why did that movie suck? its art. Why was that book terrible written, its art and don't you dare try to make it better.

WTF is it with so many video game "personalities" completely missing the point of the complaints and acting agonizingly condescending in the process?

And this is one of the worst one I've seen. Congrats MovieBob, you've lost a formerly loyal viewer. I'm just too sick of things like this.

The biggest irony here is I believe it was MovieBob that came out against "nerd bullies".

The thing is with Mr Chipman... he's a bit narrow minded.

Don't get me wrong, I love the guy and I understand the place he's coming from (Highschool was shit for me too man, So I joined the Army, now I'm a killer with a vast understanding of String Theory and Quantum Mechanics), and his point is valid, Until we look at the marketing LIES.

Let me put it this way; I have laid some awesome turds in my time, like AMAZING, but if sold one of these turds on eBay and said it was actually chocolate, i would think that the customer would have every right to be pissed off and demand a refund/chocolate.

I would like Bob to chime in on this, Sir, have you played Mass Effect 3, all the way through? Don't you think that all of the theme's in the game; Choice, Camaraderie, Love, Racism, and the rights of synthetic intelligence were betrayed in the last 5 minutes of the game? Are you aware of the thing called the Reader/Writer contract?

http://chawnaschroeder.com/readerwritercontract.aspx

I POOPED TODAY! that is all

The way I interpret Bob's statement is:
[rant]
You know what? I'm tired of fucking seeing ME3 threads fucking everywhere. Really.
You're right, I get it.
You're mad, and you have the right to be, I get you.
You're dissatisfaction is totally legit.

But do you have to fucking spam the whole fucking internet to do this, in the way that you have?
Yes, spam.

It's downright infuriating to have to find the stuff I'm looking for with 50 "BIOWARE PLS DIE IN REAL LIFE" threads in the way.

People! Keep it organized for fuck's sake. Dump your hate in one big thread. You're obscuring other articles/news etc.
[/rant]

I don't like the way he structured it. Too overdone. Sarcasm/irony etc. should have been easier to spot.

I don't think he was speaking literally.
But, if he was. Trolololo...lolo?

I love the hipster mindset that something that is a PRODUCT cannot *also* be ART.

It's never about what you do. It's how you do it. If Bioware retcons the whole ending then yeah...it's fair to say they didn't maintain any integrity at all. If however they add to what already exists, then I think both the ideals of PRODUCT and ART will be more than satisfied.

But as always there's no pleasing some people. And that includes both the raging fanboys as well as pretentious critics. This little debacle has pretty much reasserted my own viewpoint about both of those sides - namely that I find many reasons to despise them both.

Oh for goodness sake!

1) Mass Effect 3's "ending" wasn't actually an ending. Even if we overlook the BS choices and the rampant use of Deus Ex Machina, the game just stops. It's not an ending in a literary sense. It's stupid. It's like if you had Return of the Jedi and cut it off at the Emperor shocking the hell out of Luke. Then Lucas said: "Yeah, we're done." It's not an ending.

2) Mass Effect series doesn't respect it's own internal lore enough to justify the "artistic integrity" argument. It retcons how things work every five minutes between the games, even the DLC! Them rewriting the ending wouldn't be a stretch, they already rewrote the Asari's breeding habits with other species to justify the humans + genetic diversity logic. It doesn't make that logic any less retarded, but they did it anyway. Not to mention how the guns work or the Collectors. (James talks about the Collector "stasis fields" in ME3, which was an idea jettisoned in early development. He wasn't talking about the bugs.) The only thing in Mass Effect that has artistic integrity is the actual art aka the set pieces and even that changes from game to game. The music.

3) I'm really sick of people saying: moody/dark/emo/crappy = artistic and artistic = reasons why someone can't complain about a game we like! They screwed up, they can deal with it.

4) It's not like this has never happened before, so people are blowing it way out of proportion. It happens between seasons on TV shows. It happened to Arthur Conan Doyle when fans forced him to keep writing Sherlock Holmes, not once but twice! (And he had to bring him back from the dead...) Charles Dickens. It happens all the time with movies in Hollywood, it's just they test it with audiences first. (How we got the crap Will Smith I Am Legend ending.)

5) It's not an ending and thus an incomplete product. Bioware released an incomplete product and should complete it. It's hardly artistic integrity and they deserve to be called out for it.

6) The sky is not falling.

Sentox6:

Bob Chipman:

Also, Bioware? SHAME on you for caving. You've chosen to make coloring books instead of The Mona Lisa.

LOL. Just...LOL.

Bioware has never made something that is the artistic equivalent of the Mona Lisa. They've made some pretty nice colouring books, but never the Mona Lisa. Kind of wonder what Bob's on aboot.

Further, I think it's ridiculous to expect a Mona Lisa at this stage in gaming development. The medium is under a century old, and a lot of it is still primitive technologically.

You'd think a guy nicknamed Moviebob would understand this, given the analogous film industry was still a novelty at this point in its development. NOBODY expected a "Godfather" or even a "Star Wars" at this point, and nobody looks back and compares early film history to the Mona Lisa.

I doubt very much ANY genre had a Mona Lisa within a comparable time frame.

Besides, Mass Effect was like a suicide attempt via a TV Tropes Drinking Game. If you're still alive by the time you hit the point of no return in the first game, congratulations: You're probably Wolverine.

Sentox6:

Falcon123:
Bethesda's case is different, and they didn't change the ending due to fan complaints but because they wanted to open up DLC opportunities (far more valid, imo)

Maybe so, but then you have to discard Todd Howard's acknowledge that they made a mistake which needed to be fixed.

Does that better explain what I was trying to say? I'm aware artists need to and deserve to get paid, but Bioware's not at risk here of that, and this game was not done by commission and has already sold more than well enough. To change the ending to meet player demands now would not be to meet some commission deadline; it would be to get every cent they can from the game. That doesn't sound like art to me

So, uh... you can prostrate your art up until the break-even point and it's still art, but anything after that and it's not? I can't help but feel we're getting pretty arbitrary here.

To the point, is BioWare's only possible motivation to maximise profits? There's no room for a change simply for the sake of redressing a fanbase who feels (rightfully, imho) betrayed? You could argue that ultimately you only address customer concerns as a result of a long-term profit motive, but then again the game is only developed because paying customers exist, and the whole argument because circular.

My bigger problem goes back to the numerous quotes from Bioware that painted a very clear picture of what type of ending customers could expect from the game; a picture that was not at all lived up to. Are we really going to say that some abstract concept of the sanctity of art is a reasonable protection against the obligation for a company to deliver the product it promised to paying customers?

I'm not discarding Todd Howard's statement. Artists can and should be critical of their own art. The big difference here is that he didn't change it because the fans didn't like it; he changed it because he didn't like it.

It's not a matter of a break-even point. It's a matter of intention. Yes, Bioware needs to make money, as does every artist. It does not mean artists should take advantage of every opportunity they have to wring every last cent out of their consumer base. If J.K. Rowling withheld the last 3 chapters of The Deathly Hallows unless you bought it as a supplement, the literary world would have been furious. So why should we allow game companies to sell a proper ending the same way? (And btw, Bioware is far too significant for the effects of this to not have some influence on the rest of the gaming world. If they get away with this, and they have enough passionate fans who want a proper ending so badly that they will, it will happen again)

Let me make this clear: I think the ending sucked. I think the fans didn't get what they were promised, that Bioware dropped the ball, and that fans have ever reason to be upset about their purchase. But here's the thing: sometimes, games, movies, and books fail to live up to expectations. That doesn't mean we get to change them. When I was younger, I was a big fan of the Pendragon series. Book 1-9 were great. The tenth sucked. Horribly. Especially the ending. But I didn't demand a better ending. He has a right to screw his series over because it's his series . That's the thing about art. You don't have to like it. It doesn't have to be good. The artist can realize that things were wrong and try to fix it if that's what they want, but as of now, we have no proof this is what Bioware wanted.

If Bioware believed the ending was bad and wanted to fix it, that would be a whole other issue. But read the statement Bioware released. They're looking for feedback. They're looking for players to tell them what they want from the ending instead of actually writing the ending themselves. They're not crafting something new to replace the old; they're shaping it to match consumer preferences. That's not a creative vision. That's not what art is. They're caving to player demands for a new ending, at least in the press release they've given, and by choosing to put the artistry of the game in the hands of the player, I think they've sacrificed their artistic integrity.

Maybe you think the ends justify the means. Maybe you think getting a proper ending for this great franchise is worth it. That's fine...in the short term. In the long term, the repercussions of this will last far longer than this series, and I think we as gamers will regret this in the long run.

Knight Templar:

luvd1:
Look, I'm sorry to tell people. But mass effect is not art and never was. It was a product to be sold. That was the idea from the start was it to sell. Art is produced for its own sake, whether anyone likes it or not.

So something cannot be both art and a product?
Why is that, and does this rule apply to any other artwork that is sold?

Are some of the greatest works of art no longer such because they were commissioned?

Well, anything can be called art and everything usual is, that's how come you can have a common house brick, put it in the centre of a room, name it "foundation" and call it art. But if your comimssioned to make something then you work to the costumes satisfaction. If you make it for mass consumtion and profit then I say it's a product. I'll use David lynch as an example. When he made eraserhead he wasn't thinking of ques of punters out side cinemas, he made it coz he needed to tell the story, if people liked it. Well, that's a plus. When he made the Playstation ads for Sony you can bet if Sony wasn't happy he would have had to change it. Under commission your working to some else instruction, not your own. So is that art? As I said, anything can be called art. Even switching on a light if you want. But that's an argument that's been raging in the art community for the last hundred years. It would be stupid to think we can sort that out now and here. But your point is valid. Can a commissioned piece of work be called art at the time of commission? That is good. My ego says yes.... Those I used to work for would probably say "shut up and get back to work pencil monkey". Did Michelangelo think he was making a legacy when he sculpting David? Probably not. He was making a series of ornaments to go on some blokes roof.

Can a mass produced product be called art? Subjective is the only answer I can give. Paradox and opinion..... Yes and no?

Falcon123:
Maybe you think the ends justify the means. Maybe you think getting a proper ending for this great franchise is worth it. That's fine...in the short term. In the long term, the repercussions of this will last far longer than this series, and I think we as gamers will regret this in the long run.

Can I ask you a question?

What makes games unique as an art form? What is the element that separates them from, say, books, or films?

So... if Bob does a TBP having to do with Mass Effect, we just gonna ignore that one? Cool? Cool.

Well like most of his opinions he seems wildly uninformed and simply goes with his knee jerk gut reaction. I'd be surprised if he has ever played a Mass Effect game let alone Mass Effect 3. Art is not a shield for a crappy product and undelivered promises, when a game company advertises "16 different endings with a definitive conclusion" that is what we expect. Not 3 different color choices placed against the same CGI reused again and again.

Also I'm guessing that Day 1 DLC was further enhancing the "artistic integrity" of the game right? Gimmie a break. BioWare better fix the mess of an ending they created and give us what they promised, it's not about a "happy ending" or a "sad ending" its about choice, consequences, and a fucking resolution.

BloatedGuppy:

Falcon123:
Maybe you think the ends justify the means. Maybe you think getting a proper ending for this great franchise is worth it. That's fine...in the short term. In the long term, the repercussions of this will last far longer than this series, and I think we as gamers will regret this in the long run.

Can I ask you a question?

What makes games unique as an art form? What is the element that separates them from, say, books, or films?

I'll Answer! The player is an integral active part of the piece as opposed to a passive viewer/reader... which if anything undermines Bobs position further.

I would rather have a game that i enjoy than some artsy piece of **** that nobody likes or understands except for a selected few. And whats so terrible about changing it? Does it stop being art if it gets modified? Every other art form changes their creations constantly to make them better, take music, movies for example, don't know shit about paintings but Mona Lisa is an ugly painting, well painted i guess but still ugly.

nightwolf667:

It happened to Arthur Conan Doyle when fans forced him to keep writing Sherlock Holmes, not once but twice! (And he had to bring him back from the dead...)

If I may weigh in on just a couple parts: I'm sick of this comparison, because it is wrong.

The only way this comparison could be accurate is if people were demanding Mass Effect 4, with it possibly undoing the ending of ME3. The whole argument would be "We want more Mass Effect!", not "We want a different ending!".

It happens all the time with movies in Hollywood, it's just they test it with audiences first.

But this is before the product is considered "finished" and sold to the public.

It's not an ending and thus an incomplete product. Bioware released an incomplete product and should complete it.

The ending is there, it just sucks. It's a terrible ending filled with plotholes. But it's an ending.

There are actual complaints to be made about the ending besides it just sucking, but these aren't the best choices to be using.

I agree a lot with Bob. I do not think the ending should be changed. That doesn't mean they can make DLC that explains some of the weird questions the ending brought up. And it doesn't change the fact that the ending was bad.
But I finished the Horus Heresy Decent of Angles yesterday, and I didn't like the ending for a lot of the same reasons I disliked ME3s ending, lack of closure, little to no explanation as to what happened etc. But will I write angry forum posts stating they should release a new book with a better ending? no.
Do I hope they release another book explaining more about the Dark Angles and what happened? Yes.

Bob. Bob ...
You obviously didn't see the ending yourself, have you?

If you are claiming Ending-O-Tron is ART then we cannot agree on definition of art. It has been done before (DeusEx:HR, with actual story details stolen from DeusEx).

You don't quite call a person that copied a Leonardo the same thing as you call the master himself, right? Besides, BioWare were never into art, they do pulp fiction.

And no, ending should not be changed. It should stay bad cheap pulp fiction rip off it is. Just stop calling it art. It's still and Ending-o-Tron.

Falcon123:

Let me make this clear: I think the ending sucked. I think the fans didn't get what they were promised, that Bioware dropped the ball, and that fans have ever reason to be upset about their purchase. But here's the thing: sometimes, games, movies, and books fail to live up to expectations. That doesn't mean we get to change them. When I was younger, I was a big fan of the Pendragon series. Book 1-9 were great. The tenth sucked. Horribly. Especially the ending. But I didn't demand a better ending. He has a right to screw his series over because it's his series . That's the thing about art. You don't have to like it. It doesn't have to be good. The artist can realize that things were wrong and try to fix it if that's what they want, but as of now, we have no proof this is what Bioware wanted.

Sure, I can buy this... for non-interactive media where I'm just an observer. If an author wants to do something like this I have one caveat for it: It must make sense in the premise of what was already established, or at least not break anything major along the way.

Mass Effect is a different animal here because while yes we have been limited to the tools we've been provided by Bioware to tell a story, they atleast had the common courtesy to not break me out of the suspension of disbelief, usually. Sure, a few hiccups here and there, but nothing too drastic. However, the way they decided to end this series (as it currently stands) feels like I was doing some painting, then suddenly Bioware stomps in and says "To finish this picture you can only use this one brush and three colors: Red, Green, or Blue. I don't care if I provided you more options earlier! You must stick with these for the end!" It's even more disappointing when talking about the picture earlier, it was mentioned I would be able to use everything for the entirety of the picture, especially the end.

Aurgelmir:
I agree a lot with Bob. I do not think the ending should be changed. That doesn't mean they can make DLC that explains some of the weird questions the ending brought up. And it doesn't change the fact that the ending was bad.
But I finished the Horus Heresy Decent of Angles yesterday, and I didn't like the ending for a lot of the same reasons I disliked ME3s ending, lack of closure, little to no explanation as to what happened etc. But will I write angry forum posts stating they should release a new book with a better ending? no.
Do I hope they release another book explaining more about the Dark Angles and what happened? Yes.

Ah, but the last time I checked, that book is not the end of the Horus Heresy series no?
Also, see above.

Isnt this really a conflict with "artistic intregrity" and "professionalism". And they've gone with the renagrade option. Oh the irony.

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